Future unclear for new ‘Lilyhammer’

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As the last episode in the third season of the Norwegian TV series Lilyhammer was set to air on state broadcaster NRK1 Wednesday night, uncertainty flew over whether there will be a fourth season. NRK, which launched the hit series, landed in a conflict with both the show’s producers and Netflix, the international streaming service that paid for a large chunk of the season’s production costs, and now they’re all reportedly taking a “production pause.”

PHOTO: Statsministerens kontor

“Lilyhammer” star Steven Van Zandt (left) has made a big impression in Norway, and been welcomed into the office of Prime Minister Erna Solberg (center). The TV series has run into various conflicts, though, and it’s unclear whether there will be a fourth season. At right, Norway’s Minister of Culture Thorhild Widvey. PHOTO: Statsministerens kontor

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported this week that Netflix was furious that NRK, in a surprise move, decided to release all the season’s episodes of Lilyhammer 3 on its “nett-TV” online when it aired the season premiere on NRK1 back in October.

Updated July 23, 2015: ‘Natural end’ for ‘Lilyhammer’ as Netflix pulls out

NRK claims that it didn’t break any agreements by making the series available to Norwegian viewers all at once.

Caught in the middle was local production company Rubicon TV. It had entered into a distribution agreement for the series with Red Arrow International that in turn struck a deal with Netflix. Netflix bought the rights to stream Lilyhammer in major markets around the world, including the US, and paid NOK 96 million (around USD 14 million) to do so. Netflix was thus extremely unhappy that NRK released all of this season’s episodes online when it aired the season premiere on October 29. That allowed Norwegian viewers to watch them all at once, or whenever they wanted, for free.

Lilyhammer 3 didn’t become available on Netflix outside Norway until November 21, and Norwegian Netflix customers must wait to see it until after NRK had aired the entire series. Netflix demanded its money back, reported DN, because NRK’s early release of the series cheapened the value of Netflix’ distribution deal, at least in Norway.

Thorny issues
At issue were several thorny, potential legal disputes, but those involved told DN on Wednesday that they’d resolved the disagreement over streaming rights. DN reported that Rubicon will pay compensation to Netflix. “We have no further comments,” Petter Wallace, chief of external production at NRK, told DN, but added that “all challenges around the use of Lilyhammer’s third season in Norway have been solved among all involved, NRK, Rubicon, Red Arrow and Netflix.”

NRK’s boss Gjermund Eriksen has repeatedly said the Norwegian broadcaster had no agreement regarding its own Internet publication with Netflix and simply wanted to do what Netflix itself has done with other TV series: “We want to publish in a way that the public gets the best access to this entertainment.”

Pål Kruke Kristiansen, head of Rubicon TV, told DN that “we are very satisifed that we have come to terms regarding the use of Lilyhammer 3 in Norway, and look positively ahead along with all partners in the project.” He couldn’t promise a new season of Lilyhammer, though, and no applications for financial support from the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) have been submitted.

‘Production pause’
“We have just delivered a third season in record time,” Kristiansen said. He noted that since NFI “has reduced its support” and “we need a little production pause,” the “partners” hadn’t yet begun work on planning a fourth season with NRK and other investors.

“We also need to wait to see how popular Lilyhammer 3 will be on Netflix,” Kristiansen told DN. The series, which centers around a New York mafia boss relocated to the Norwegian city of Lillehammer and the cultural differences that implies, got rave reviews in Norway and was wildly popular during its first season but ratings have slipped from its early highs.

The star of the show, US actor and rock musician Steven Van Zandt, meanwhile, is publishing music used in the series that he has produced himself. Newspaper Dagsavisen reported that the digital package is called “Lilyhammer: The Score,”  and features the full versions of Van Zandt’s compositions for the show, many of which are only heard in 15-20 second versions on the TV episodes. “This has really been fun,” Van Zandt told Dagsavisen during a recent stay in Oslo. “If I had to live off of only making film music, it would be a good life.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

  • sueinphilly

    American viewer here. We Love this show. Please figure out a way to make more episodes.

    • inquisitor

      Scarily, in many respects, a reality show.

      • sueinphilly

        Marian Saastad Ottesen who played Sigrid Haugli (she really did just have a baby it appears)

        they really HAVE to come back for season 4
        because at the end of season 3 they left big issues unresolved. Stop HERE if you haven’t finished yet, because this is a spoiler alert.
        Scroll down to continue

        I’m pretty sure they didn’t address the issue of the dead body in the bathtub. just saying…

        • hash

          Wait, so is she married to Dag in real life???

          • sueinphilly


            here’s her instagram page
            I think there are pictures of her ‘real life’ husband (or father of baby)

            • hash

              Ya, I saw that, and the guy holding the baby in the pictures is the actor who plays dag

  • Lynn

    My husband and I just watched the entire seasons 1, 2 and 3. Fantastic show! Please make a Season 4!

  • Ste Bunches

    Funniest show around. Absolutely brilliant. I hope whoever is pulling the purse strings for this project realizes it is shows like this that get people to pay for Netflix to begin with.

  • Seamus100

    Steven Van Zandt is ‘da bomb!! (if you’ll pardon the pun!) Want to see more of Maureen Van Zandt, his wife, in future editions of “Lilyhammer” Seasons FOUR AND FIVE!! Casting for this project is FANTASTIC!! More Angie, Roar, Tageir, Ingrid, Johnny! MORE! MORE! MORE!! Ppppp-uleeze!!

  • Sam Sheraton

    MY fave show

  • Jesse Hall

    This show got better and better as it progressed through each season, they have to make another!

  • Crystal Cranston

    It’s a brilliant show- one of my favorites! Please please make a season 4!

  • Cheryl Squires

    I enjoy this show. I hope to see more seasons.

  • Jay Hynes

    Top top show!! have to do a fourth,pleeeeeeeeaaaaaasssseeee!!!!

  • Marty Molloy

    More seasons, please! ;0)

  • A 4th season would be great

  • El kabong

    Great to sit down with a plate of lefse, some aquavit and watch the action, all the names remind me of my relatives

  • zack craig

    From Brroklyn so I know all about Mr.Taglaino … Along with all the mafia playing characters … To stick Frankie in a Norwegian setting was brilliant. And his character brought vibe to what once a regular small town. At first I considered it low budget but learned to see around the low talent actors and just focus on Johnnys character which is what brought the comedy into it. When he was with the soprano’s he also brought comedy with him …. Great show5 stars

  • Fred Meunier

    I have viewed all 3 seasons and I feel that the writers have done an excellent job of fleshing out all the main characters. The directing and acting is spot on. Please bring us a 4th season.

  • PJS

    Great show, perhaps a 12 episode season would be more fitting. We need more seasons of this. A classic!

  • alan at alpine

    this show is great ,just watched all three series in the uk,to me its on a par with breaking bad and the sopranos nearly,more series would be good maybe intergrate more cast of the sopranos,tonys boy as a lost relative,not seen him lately,5 stars people keep on please

  • sodagod

    A scot/brit here… me and my girlfriend absolutely LOVE this show… thanks to Netflix. Please don’t cancel it, we want a 4th season!

  • Terry

    Terry from Florida here;
    What a great show , I think I spend more time laughing then taking it serious . I think the actors have done a great job making you feel this could be a film crew following actual people around ! Please try and figure out how to make a season four if for no other reason ,just put a proper end to the Show.

    • Jean Baron

      My sister and I just finished watching the last episode of the 3rd season of Lillyhammer. We love this show. Please make seasons 4,5, & 6 and so on. This is a delightfully done, well acted sitcom! We are looking forward to future episodes of Johnny and the guys in Lillyhammer. Great show!

  • daqvnd

    Im an American viewer and we love this show. Its so different a quirky while exposing us to a different culture, language, and an absolutely beautiful place. I hope this show continues

  • zaphod1


  • John Gillis

    I love the show. Almost makes me want to continue my IT career in Norway!

  • Daniel LeFrancois

    I couldn’t stop watching . Netflix and NRK need to work it out !

  • Wadia Hill

    This is one of the greatest TV shows I’ve seen in years. I watched all 3 seasons on Netflix in 2 weeks. I love the combination of the cultures. How Frank brings his American culture to Norway. I could go on> and> on as too why this show should continue. The main reasons is there isn’t any good shows on TV anymore. Please don’t deprive us of this genius show.

  • Simba Jahi


  • Phaedra

    I LOVE this series, I hope they make many more seasons, more than just one more!!

  • Damien Noonan

    Please God, let season 4 go ahead. We Aussies love this show!!

  • Matthew J Church

    I love the show & will wait patiently for season 4 🙂

  • Garrett Mullan

    just finished watching season 3- great series but it started running out of steam in season 2. Finish now on a high. I really enjoyed it

  • Dan Goff

    My wife and I just started season 1 yesterday and we’re hooked. They need better advertising so I would have known sooner. Just saying it was good to start and just got better and better. Hope they can get past politics to get season 4 on the way.

    • Bratista

      Here here!

  • klepp0906

    Love becoming invested in a show only to have it pulled due to greed. Good times and par for the course.

  • Brenda Bussell

    love that show

  • mbods2002

    PLEASE resolve issues and make season 4! Thank you

  • Bratista

    Netflix: a bunch of jerks. Seriously, they refuse to have a great streaming library and instead rotate movies in and out, then they go and screw around with one of the best shows on any format!

  • Daniel

    Im a honduran viewer and this is one of my favorite series and y share the same opinion with my family and friends,pleeeeaaaaase make more episodes of this awesome tv show

  • Janet Williams

    We enjoyed it tremendously. And we’ve just GOT to find out what happened with her climbing the milk-muncher in the bathtub!!

  • Steve Goss

    I love the characters and the situations. The big plus is gaining an appreciation of the beauty of the country and complexity of the people. I look forward to another season. Stevie Van is one of my all time favorites. Wow, what a talent!
    I’ve been saving the last episode like it is a fine wine. Ill watch it when Season 4 is announced.

  • The Gentle Grizzly

    I hope the series keeps going. And put Arne into a bigger role.

  • Ernest Bannerman

    The best, most entertaining show, I’ve seen in close to a decade. Great cast. Great stories. Never a boring episode. And best of all, we get to see Steven Van Zandt doing a masterful job of playing the sort of role that he does better than anyone else in entertainment. I’d love to see more of this great series.